Monday, December 20, 2010
Learn more about the County’s action plan for snow removal by reading the recently updated “When It Snows” brochure (pdf). The brochure explains the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) approach to dealing with winter storms. With a workforce of 200 employees with 175 pieces of snow removal equipment and 180 contractors with 225 pieces of equipment, crews work around the clock until all County-maintained streets are passable. More resources may be called in for exceptional storms.
When snow is in the forecast, MCDOT crews are mobilized and they begin pre-treating main roads. Once it begins snowing, crews work continuously to salt and sand nearly 1,000 lane miles of primary (arterial roads connecting subdivisions or business districts) and secondary roads (main collector streets through subdivisions) and keep them in “bare pavement” condition. This ensures that in case of an emergency every County resident is within one-quarter mile of a cleared road. As snow accumulations reach three inches, plowing operations begin.
Once the snow stops falling and major roads are clear, crews then turn their attention to snow removal from more than 4,100 lane miles of neighborhood streets. It’s important for residents to understand that MCDOT’s goal is to make these streets passable – not clear them to bare pavement.
The type of snow (wet or powdery), pavement temperature, ambient air temperature, and wind conditions following a storm affect how quickly snow can be removed. MCDOT offers these general guidelines:
- It takes about 16 hours following the end of a three-inch snowfall to plow or treat every County road once.
- After a 10-inch snowfall, major and primary County roads should be cleared and neighborhood streets made passable within 24 to 36 hours. Snow removal will continue until all streets have been treated at least once.
- After a 15-inch snowfall, crews should complete their work in about 36 to 48 hours.
- After a 24-inch snowfall, crews should complete the work in about 48 to 60 hours.